Notes Information Apocalypse

How Do Committees Invent?

How Do Committees Invent? is a 1968 paper by Melvin Conway, where he describes a social phenomenon later transliterated into the Conway's Law adage by Fred Brooks in the Mythical Man Month. The essence of Conway's argument is that organizations will inevitably produce systems that reflect the internal structure of the organization itself. While intended to describe the workings of information technology projects (and it still seems that this is much more widely known in programming circles than anywhere else), Conway's Law has wider relevance to all kinds of socio-technical systems, especially those initiated and managed by governments.

This is useful as a context for framing the current changing management structure of the United States government as the great transition between Bush and Obama begins.

In New Zealand, we're now faced with an interesting situation: a new government, clearly obsessed with limiting what they term administrative inefficiencies in the state bureaucracy. How will the National Party's internal communication structure affect their shaping of policy and legislation? What kinds of projections will we see stemming from their own party's organizational bias and that of the parliamentary system itself? How different will it be from the organizational bias of the Labour Party that we've come to know so well?